West Indies Test captain, Kraigg Brathwaite, insists the team will not be complacent against Sri Lanka heading into the start of the two-match series on Sunday.

The Windies are riding momentum following a hard-fought 2-0 series win away to Bangladesh and a strong performance in a 3-0 One Day International (ODI) series sweep over Sri Lanka.

Despite the recent success, however, Brathwaite, who officially replaced Jason Holder as captain to start the series, insists the team will be looking for a fierce fight from the tourists.

“It’s Test cricket so we won’t be taking them for granted.  I think they have some experienced batsmen that have played a lot of Tests, have scored a number of Test 100s, and an experienced bowler in Lakmal,” Brathwaite told members of the media via a Zoom press conference on Saturday.

“Going into the game we won’t be underestimating them.  I think they will come and fight because the Sri Lanka team always tends to fight,” he added.

Sri Lanka have shown plenty of fight, despite losing both the T20 and ODI series their spinners gave the West Indies batsmen a lot to think about once they were deployed.

West Indies coach, Phil Simmons, insists the team is looking for improvement in every area ahead of the first Test against Sri Lanka, on Sunday, but particularly targeted once again achieving the elusive 400 runs first innings score.

In recent matches, the regional team has carved out some momentum, following up hard-fought Test series win over Bangladesh with a T20 and dominant ODI series win over Sri Lanka.  Heading into the start of Sunday’s Test series, however, Simmons is far from satisfied.    

“We need to improve in every area, we had a good series but there are lots of things we need to keep improving on,” Simmons told Windies cricket.

“We need to make sure we get 400 in the first innings, which is something that we are striving for every time we play.  Then we have to bowl and bat even better than we did in Bangladesh,” he added.

The West Indies reached 400 first innings runs last month, in the series against Bangladesh, but reaching the total has proven to be the exception rather than the rule.  Prior to that, the team got to the total against Sri Lanka in 2018.

The highest first innings total, in the last 10 years, was 590 against India in 2011, in total they have achieved the feat seven times.  By comparison, Australia has achieved the feat 27 times within the same period.

 

Half-centuries from Kyle Mayers and Roston Chase were the highlights of the second day of Cricket West Indies’ President’s XI vs Sri Lanka as the fixture ended in a predictable draw.

Left-hander Mayers made a typically stroke-filled 57 off just 66 balls as the President’s XI took a first-innings lead of 122. He used the match as ideal preparations for the first Sandals Test match, which starts on Sunday at the Sir Vivian Richards Stadium.

They started the second day on 103-1 and made 294 in reply to Sri Lanka’s first innings 172. In the second innings, the visitors were 56-0 when the match was called off at 4:50 pm.

Mayers hit 11 fours, mainly fierce cuts, and powerful drives and added 76 for the fourth wicket with Shamarh Brooks, who made 19 before he was magnificently snapped up at slip by Lahiru Thirimanne off-spinner Danajaya De Silva (3-26).

Chase then came to the crease and showed his class. The tall right-hander was excellent against the spinner as he scored 52 off 81 balls with eight fours. He was especially fluent through the on-side before he was dismissed leg-before wicket to left-arm spinner Lasith Embuldeniya (3-69). This knock capped a very good match for Chase, who also took 4-12 on the opening day with his off-spin.

In the final session, Sri Lanka’s openers Thirimanne (27 not out) and Dimuth Karunarathne (23 not out) batted out the final 13 overs.

 

Shai Hope hit a brilliant unbeaten half-century to follow up Roston Chase’s four-wicket haul as Cricket West Indies’ President’s XI dominated Sri Lanka on Wednesday’s first day of a two-day tour match.

After bowling out the visitors for just 172 just after tea, the President’s XI reached the close on 103-1 with Hope unbeaten on a stroke-filled 60 off just 72 balls.

Hope was the embodiment of class as he played several stunning shots, the two best of which went for sixes. The first was a nonchalant flick over deep square leg and the second a slog sweep smacked with great authority, which cleared wide long-on by some distance. He has also hit ten fours so far. Left-hander Darren Bravo ended the day on a solid 30 not out off 69 balls and has so far put on 94 for the second wicket with Hope.

Chase had earlier picked up 4-12 as Sri Lanka collapsed from 137-5 to lose their last five wickets for 35 runs in quick time. Oshada Fernando top-scored with 47, Dinesh Chandimal struck 40 while Pathum Nissanka made 23.

From the outset, Sri Lanka were never allowed to settle, as fast bowler Anderson Phillip snatched 3-47 and seamer Kemar Roach, 2-41, to cause problems early in the innings. Roach removed both openers in successive overs. He got left-hander Lahiru Thirimanne to play around a full-length delivery and gained a leg-before decision in the day’s third over.

He then had captain Dimuth Karunaratne (2) caught at first slip by Kyle Mayers, after Chase at second slip parried the initial offering. There were also four catches for wicket-keeper Jahmar Hamilton, who demonstrated excellent glovework behind the stumps.

 

 

Legendary West Indies captain, Clive Lloyd, believes that the fighting spirit and professional display that led to a 2-0 series win, in Bangladesh, has spread to the rest of the team.

So far, the general consensus is that the regional team has, at times, been fairly impressive in the ongoing series against Sri Lanka.  They battled to a 2-1 win in the T20 series, but then swept the visitors aside in a confident display during the One Day International series.

Lloyd believes some of that confidence stems from the performance of the Kraigg Brathwaite unit, which was understrength and underestimated heading to last month’s tour of Bangladesh but battled to a surprise 2-0 Test series win.

“I believe it is because of the way our players played in Bangladesh, that it trickled down.  They put their head down and batted intelligently and won,” Lloyd told the Mason and Guest radio program.

“It galvanized those other guys to do the same.  We had 274, 270-odd and we looked good.  We batted well. (Things were tighter) in the T20s but we won out because we are getting that professional attitude back and that I think it is because of the guys winning in Bangladesh.”

The team will look to take the momentum into the two-match Test series, which will get underway on Sunday.

 

 

 

West Indies middle-order batsman, Darren Bravo, has sought to assure fans of the regional team that the unit is striving to achieve consistency and has backed them to eventually accomplish it.

Spirits have been high, both for the West Indies team and many of its supporters, as the team followed up a surprise win away to Bangladesh with home wins over Sri Lanka and in both the T20 and One Day International series.

The fans will, however, be wary of celebrating a return to headier times too soon as the team has on several occasions given signs of turning the proverbial corner, so to speak, which they hope will be a crucial step to once again becoming a dominant force in world cricket.  Bravo, who scored a century in the ODI series, has explained that while things have not always quite gone to plan, the team is working to make the fans happy.

“To be honest, I don’t think it’s a situation where we have to try to be perfect because you will never ever be perfect.  It’s more about striving to be consistent in all facets of the game, whether it be bowling batting, or fielding,” Bravo told members of the media via a Zoom press conference call on Monday.

“I think as long as we strive for consistency then that is where you are going to see improvement.  If you try to be perfect, you fall short here and there.  As a team we are striving for consistency, the guys are working hard and I’m sure we are going to get it right.”

 

West Indies opener Evin Lewis has admitted it was hurtful to miss out on playing for the squad due to fitness concerns and reveals he took steps to ensure the incident did not repeat itself.

The 29-year-old was surprisingly left out of the squad last February, ahead of the team’s tour of Sri Lanka, after failing to meet Cricket West Indies' minimum fitness requirements.  Later in the year, the player turned down the opportunity to tour New Zealand citing injury and safety concerns.

A few months later, however, and Lewis has emerged from his time off in solid form.  The opener’s century, his fourth in One Day International (ODI cricket), against Sri Lanka in the second ODI, and blossoming partnership with left-hander Shai Hope was one of the highlights in a series which the West Indies dominated.

“I’ve been doing a lot of gym work and running. Due to the last (CWI) fitness test, before this series, I failed it. It hurt, to be doing so well and knowing my fitness was the problem,” Lewis told members of the media via a Zoom press conference.

“So, I went back home and did a lot of running and a lot of gym… Straight down until after the Bangladesh series, I’ve been training hard. I’m hungrier for it (WI selection) right now,” he said.

Ahead of the Sri Lanka series batsmen Shimron and all-rounder Roston Chase, along with pace bowlers  Sheldon Cottrell and Oshane Thomas all failed to meet the minimum fitness requirement for selection.  Chase and Hetmyer later passed the tests.

 

Former West Indies wicketkeeper and noted administrator, Jackie Hendriks, has expressed surprise at the selection of veteran batsman Chris Gayle for the T20 series against Sri Lanka, indicating he believes the batsman could be past it at this point.

The selection of the veteran pair of Gayle and fast bowler Fidel Edwards sparked heated discussions around the region, with some insisting that the players should have been overlooked for younger talent.  The 41-year-old Gayle was recalled to the regional squad for the first time in two years, along with the 39-year-old Edwards, who had not played for the team since 2012.

Neither player had a particularly strong series but have been playing in T20 leagues around the globe since last year, Gayle notably having a strong showing at the Indian Premier League (IPL), while Edwards showed up well for the Abu Dhabi T10 tournament.  For the Sri Lanka series, Gayle averaged 9 over three matches, with a high score of 16 in the second T20 match.  Edwards, in the meantime, took one wicket over the first two games but did not play the third.

Hendriks, while expressing confidence in the regional selectors, admits he was somewhat taken aback by both selections.

 “I was a little surprised that Chris was brought into the team at this stage,” said Hendriks, a former Jamaica Cricket Association president, told the Mason and Guest radio program.

“I wondered what the reason was but of course he has been a tremendous player over the years but it’s just his age in life I was a little surprised,” he added.

“I don’t know what things went on in their minds. I don’t know. I certainly would’ve thought he was a little past it at this stage and having youngsters around, I would’ve gone for them. But of course, selectors are on the spot and they know what they’re doing. “[Edwards was] another question mark in my books. I would’ve thought that was a little stretch but again, the selectors must’ve had some good reason for that.”

A century from Darren Bravo and half-centuries from Shai Hope and Kieron Pollard led the West Indies to a five-wicket win with nine balls to spare, and a sweep of Sri Lanka in the CG Insurance ODI series that concluded at the Sir Vivian Richards Stadium in Antigua today.

Man of the Match Bravo scored 102 and shared in two crucial partnerships - a 109-run third-wicket partnership with Hope, who made 64, and a fourth-wicket partnership with Pollard that set up the West Indies for a third consecutive victory. The captain remained unbeaten on 53 at the end.

Chasing 275, after Sri Lanka made 274 for 6, their best score of the series, the West Indies had their worse start of the series. After stands of 143 and 192, respectively, in the first two matches, Evin Lewis and Hope managed only 24 runs on this occasion.

Lewis, who has been in ominous form with scores of 65 and 103 in the two previous matches, was bowled by Suranga Lakmal for 13 at the end of the fifth over. The West Indies crawled to 39 for 1 in the 10th over when Jason Mohammed was bowled by Wanindu Hasaranga de Silva, who was getting his first wicket of the ODI series.

His dismissal brought Hope and Bravo together for the first of the two instrumental partnerships of the West Indies innings. However, after keeping the scoreboard ticking over at close to five runs an over, the pair got bogged down by the tight bowling. By the start of the 32nd over the pair had taken the score to 148 when Hope got out trying to slog Thisara Perera first ball only be caught by Suranga Lakmal running in from long-on.

Hope had made 64, his third consecutive score of 50 or more in the series and on the sixth consecutive occasion overall. Nicholas Pooran came intending to push the score along hitting two sixes in what was to be a brief stay at the crease. Three overs later he was back in the pavilion out lbw to Danuska Gunathilaka for 15 to leave the West Indies in a spot of bother at 169 for 3, still needing 106 from 78 balls.

Pollard arrived at the crease intent on pushing the scoring rate without unnecessary risk. He knocked balls into the gaps, running singles and twos, sprinkling four fours in between. Bravo soon followed suit and together they put on 80 runs while bringing the run rate down from near eight an over to near six and which took the West Indies within sight of their target.

By the time Bravo got out trying to hit Lakmal over extra cover, the West Indies needed 25 from 23 balls. Bravo hit five fours and four sixes.

Holder joined Pollard and together began a steady run toward the required runs.

Pollard hit one six in his 42-ball innings and it was perhaps the most important one of the innings.

It came from the last ball of the 48th over bowled by Asitha Fernando that yielded 14 runs, resulting in the West Indies needing nine from 12 balls.

After missing with an almighty swipe from the first ball of the 49th over bowled by Lakmal, Jason Holder finished the job hitting a four and a six off the next two balls to finish the job unbeaten on 14.

Lakmal, who gave up the winning runs, finished with 2-56 from 9.3 overs.

Earlier, Sri Lanka, who had been put in to bat, only managed their competitive score of 274 for 6, due to an unbroken seventh-wicket stand of 123 from 111 balls between Hasaranga and Ashen Bandara.

Hasaranga who should have been run out for 42, hit seven fours and three sixes on his way to his best ODI score of 80 that came off just 60 balls while Bandara was unbeaten on 55 that included three fours and six.

They had taken the score from 151 for 6 sliding from 68 without loss.

Gunathilaka made 36 before he lost his wicket to Alzarri Joseph. Seven balls later and two balls later Dimuth Karunaratne was bowled by Mohammed for 31. It was the start of a trend wherein the Sri Lankan batsmen would all get starts and then got out.

Akeal Hossein took 3-33 taking the wickets of Pathum Nissanka for 24, Dinesh Chandimal for 16 and Dashun Sanaka for 24. The latter two getting out in a similar fashion playing across the line to faster straight deliveries and getting bowled.

By that time, Sri Lanka was struggling at 143 for 5 in the 31st over.

When Perera was run out by a direct hit from Nicholas Pooran seven balls later, Sri Lanka was slipping fast at 151 for 6 before Hasaranga and Bandara pulled out their rescue act.

For his scores of 102, 84 and 64, Shai Hope was named Player of the Series.

Both teams will now turn their attention to the Test series that begins on March 21.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Anderson Phillip, the 24-year-old fast bowler from Trinidad and Tobago has been called to the West Indies squad for today’s final ODI match against Sri Lanka.

Evin Lewis scored his fourth ODI century that helped lay the platform for the West Indies’ five-wicket victory over Sri Lanka with two balls to spare at the Sir Vivian Richards Stadium earlier today.

Man-of-the-Match Lewis scored 103 and shared in a record 192-run first-wicket partnership with Shai Hope, who made 84, as the West Indies took an unassailable 2-0 lead in the three-match series. It was the best-ever first-wicket stand at the stadium.

Chasing a challenging total of 274, after Sri Lanka made 273 for 8 in their 50 overs, Lewis and Hope kept the Sri Lankan bowling attack at bay for 37.2 overs that seemed destined to take the home side to another comfortable victory. However, they almost threw it away.

Lewis’ 103 came off 121 balls and hit eight fours and four sixes before getting out to stumped to the bowling of Lakshan Sandakan.

His dismissal seemed to lift the Sri Lankans’ spirits and they responded by tightening up on the West Indies, who managed to squeeze two runs from the next nine balls. The pressure continued to build and it yielded the desired results. At 194 for one, Hope got out caught at deep cover trying to push the scoring rate.

As a measure of how much Sri Lanka had slowed the scoring rate, the first 50 for the West Indies came up in just 54 balls, the second in 53 while the third 50 came up in 55 balls. The fourth 50 for the West Indies was made from 81 balls.

In this phase of the game, the West Indies lost the wickets of Darren Bravo for 10 and Kieron Pollard and Fabian Allen 15 each over the next 57 balls from which they managed 55 runs as they tried to rein in the escalating run-rate that had ballooned to 10 runs an over.

With Jason Holder at the other end, it was left to Nicholas Pooran to play hero and swing the match back in favour of the West Indies.

Allen had hit a six off Nuwan Pradeep to start the 48th over. He was dismissed next ball holing out to deep midwicket. However, the batsmen crossed leaving Pooran to face the next four balls from which the West Indies took 11 runs, 10 coming from Pooran’s bat via two fours and running two.

The little Trinidadian would finish the job in the final over off the same bowler with the West Indies needing nine from six balls.

After missing the first ball that was bowled wide of the off-stump, Pooran hit consecutive fours before clipping off his legs for the winning single. He would finish unbeaten on 35 while Holder, who faced four balls and was two not out.

Pradeep finished with 2-66 off 9.4 overs. Thisara Perera claimed the wickets of Hope and Bravo to return 2-45 from seven while Lakshan Sandakan finished with 1-36.

Earlier, Sri Lanka posted what turned out to be a competitive score, the foundation of which was laid by Danushka Gunathilaka, who scored a run-a-ball 96 that rescued Sri Lanka from 50 for 3 after Alzarri Joseph had removed Dimuth Karunaratne and Pathum Nissanka for one and 10, respectively within the first seven overs.

Gunathilaka, who was controversially given out for obstructing the field in the opening match on Wednesday, and Dinesh Chandimal put on 100 for the fourth wicket. He looked set for a hundred when Jason Mohammed bowled him with one that kept low to claim the first of his three wickets.

In fact, Mohammed claimed the next two wickets to fall - Ashan Bandara for 18 and then Chandimal for 71 - as Sri Lanka struggled to force the rate of scoring and seemed likely to score a little more than the 232 they scored in their eight-wicket loss on Wednesday.

However, a blazing cameo of 47 from 31 balls from Hasaranga de Silva propelled Sri Lanka well past the 250-run mark and with a little help from Perera, who made 19 before he was last man out run out for 19.

Mohammed had his career-best figures of 3-48 while Joseph took 2-42. There was a wicket each for Jason Holder and Akeal Hosein.

The final match of the series is scheduled for the same venue on Sunday.

 

 

 

 

Jason Holder and Darren Bravo have been recalled to the West Indies squad for the first Test against Sri Lanka set for March 21-25, 2021.

Shai Hope celebrated his return to international cricket on Wednesday with his 10th ODI century that helped the West Indies cruise to a crushing eight-wicket victory over Sri Lanka at the Sir Vivian Richards Stadium in Antigua.

A century from Shai Hope and a half-century from Evin Lewis helped West Indies cruise to a comfortable eight-wicket victory over Sri Lanka with 18 balls to spare at the Sir Vivian Richards Stadium and take a 1-0 lead in the three-match series.

Ian Bradshaw was not impressed with the manner of the West Indies victory in the three-match T20 series against Sri Lanka citing how poor the batsmen of the Caribbean were during the series.

The former West Indies bowler has suggested that if the West Indies was the win a third ICC T20 World Cup later this year, the coach and selectors need to have frank and honest discussions with the batsmen about their performances, especially about how and when they lose their wickets.

Going forward in a world cup year, he said, “this would be the time to have some honest words within the camp and I am sure that Coach Simmons and maybe Chief Selector Roger Harper will have to be brutally honest with the guys.

“Experienced or inexperienced, our match awareness will have to be a lot better.”

In the matches played at the Coolidge Cricket Ground in Antigua, the West Indies won the opening match by four wickets chasing 132 for victory. Chasing 160 in the second match, the home side lost badly by 43 runs. They eventually clinched the series by virtue of a three-wicket win, needing only 132.

Many of the West Indies batsmen did not live up to expectation. Lendl Simmons managed only 73 runs from the three matches; Evin Lewis, 55, Jason Holder, 52, Kieron Pollard 51, Nicholas Pooran, 31, Chris Gayle, 29, and Dwayne Bravo, 6.

Speaking on Mason & Guest with host Andrew Mason on Tuesday night, Bradshaw said when it comes to T20 matches, it comes down to more than just the number of runs scored. “It’s the manner of the dismissals,” said the 46-year-old Bradshaw, who represented the West Indies in five Tests and 62 ODI's between 2004 and 2007.
“Yes, we showed weakness and uncertainty to the spinners, but it is how collectively as a unit, we bat the spin,” he said, adding that several batsmen were also tentative against aggressive pace bowling.

Bradshaw insisted that the West Indies batsmen will have to show significant improvement as there was “nowhere to hide. There is too much video, too much analysis.”

The performances of the batsmen were so poor, Brathwaite said, the result could have easily been 3-0 in favour of Sri Lanka and with the world cup mere months away, there is a lot of work to be done.

“As we build towards the world cup, our performances will have to be a lot more clinical,” he said.

“Like so many series, we go into it and we believe our bowling is the weak link and when it comes out, it is the batting that struggles, and this has been the case in all three formats.

“In Test cricket, whenever we score over 500 runs over two innings we’ve won and whenever we score over 300 runs in an ODI we are very competitive but quite often it the batting that has let us down, and the batting in the T20 series showed a bit of irresponsibility.

“The shots that were played put us (under) undue pressure when we didn’t need to be.”

  

 

 

 

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